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Thread: Anybody speak Ampeg? My '76 Ampeg V4b bass head with mid '70s Ampeg B40 4x10 cab

  1. #1

    Anybody speak Ampeg? My '76 Ampeg V4b bass head with mid '70s Ampeg B40 4x10 cab

    Hey, mellow, corgi-man, frono, et al,

    I picked up this amp about 2 1/2 years ago in non-working condition. Pretty simple set up; two inputs, two volume knobs, bass middle treble controls with 3 EQ switches, no master volume.

    I spent $400 getting it running with a good tech who had the same identical head and loved it. I found it to be a pretty cool amp with the classic Ampeg voicing and some useful front panel EQ switches. It produces up to 100-115 clean watts and sounds pretty warm and stable at low to mid volumes. After about 11 o'clock on the volume potentiometer, you start hearing a little growl, that is, distortion. From 1 o'clock on, it's dial in the dirt. At that point, you can really get some cool distorted sounds depending on how you set the ultra-high, ultra-low switches, pull out the middle controls, etc. It's nothing I had ever contemplated using, but who knows?

    I listened to it through about six different cabs, mostly Marshall and Ampegs. I bought a '90s, 'modern-era' Ampeg 4x10 cab with a tweeter. It sounded terrible. The tech looked inside. The speakers were completely mismatched in terms of both sound and different ohm resistance (two of the speakers were 16 ohms, 2 were 4 ohms. The power would go to the speakers with the least resistance, turning them to flatulant jelly, while the speaks with the most resistance would barely move, contributing almost nothing to the sound).

    I began to look for the various types of Ampeg cabs that were used back in the day with this V4b head. The choices were:

    1) early '70s 8x10 SVT-type flat back cabs and Eminence guitar speakers. These cabs are wonderful, but very heavy if you are 64 :)

    2) a 1970-80 B40 4x10 cab with similar Eminence speakers, made for the 120watt transistor B40 head. Not as heavy, but also not widely available in the 21st Century.

    3) 2x15 cabs, some folded, some sealed, all Heavy!

    4) V4 4x12 cabs. There are more of them around than the B40 cab. They are pretty-good with bass, but really made for the 100-watt guitar version of the head called the V4; with reverb, master volume, guitar-frequency tone switches, etc. Expensive in good shape.

    I decided on the B-40 4x10 cab because I like 10s for bass and felt like any two of us old guys in my 'genuine old-guy band' could realistically carry that cab 40 to 60 feet.

    The B40 cab was big for back in the day; 27" wide, 30" tall and 14" deep. They sound real good with modern replacement speakers like Eminence Legends. Also, since V4b heads are 27" wide, the look great when you plant one on top of a 27" wide B40 cab.

    Yes, I had a Plan.....

    And then it Fell Apart! I simply couldn't find a B40 cab. I searched the USA for around a year and a half. A few cabs turned up, but always with 'will not ship' issues. Finally, I gave up on the project, sold the amp and the crummy, 'modern-era' cab to the same tech and called it all off in late 2015.

    Until two weeks ago....

    Another year and a half later, I'm looking through a national Craiglist search function typing in 'Ampeg B40' for the umpteenth time through sheer force of habit. Naturally, nothing showed up. For some reason, I went to the local Craigslist site and typed in the same search, again just by habit. A B40 cab showed up 30 miles away for $250, with a good speaker grill that matched the color of my head's grill!

    I called my tech and asked him if he wanted to buy the B40 cab. He declined (didn't need two V4b heads, plus he'd replaced the speakers in the modern-era cab and paired it up with a single 15" speaker cab). I then asked him if I could buy my old head back. He said yes, so I bought the cab and picked up the head last Monday. Now you guys know what I know!

    And, if you find a B40 cab, let me know! I want two! I'm willing to wait a year and half!

    Last edited by gilded; 07-08-2017 at 05:06 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post

    And I like Harry's approach.
    '66 Starfire I SB bass, '75 Mark 4 P, '00 Black Bird,
    '66 Thunderbird amp, '68 Thunder 1 RVT amp

  2. #2
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    Nice. I had a roommate who was a much better bass player than I was. I think he had an Acoustic head when we first met but switched to a dimly remembered (by me) Ampeg for the next three years. He built a 1x15 cabinet with a JBL speaker in it. It may have been ported and it was based on a design used by The Dead in their Wall of Sound. He was an EE and I am sure that choice of cabinet design have everything to do with performance and nothing to do with Phil Lesh.

    My nephew had a modern Ampeg combo with 1x15 and some modeling that I lived with for a while. "It was cool, but can you imagine Doobie-in' your funk?"

    And that is all the Ampeg I have spoken.

    My solution to the old guy syndrome is below.


    ~12 lbs. 2x5. I have not worked with a drummer in decades and am not sure it would be loud enough to do so but it is loud enough for everything I've tried and the Peavey remains on standby.

    Phil Jones Bass Cub BG-100
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.

    '67 Starfire I Bass (Cherry)
    '71 JS II Bass (Walnut)
    '82 B-50 Acoustic Bass (Natural)
    '87 Pilot (Black)
    '13 Newark Street Starfire Bass (Cherry)
    '16 Betts Bass "Walnut Bottom"

    LMG I, II, III

    This space available.

  3. #3
    Senior Member jp's Avatar
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    Hey Harry -

    Those V4s are beasts. I used to play in an old school funk band, and our bass player had one. Pure sweet bottom end! He gigged and toured for years and that head never let him down. He never had to max out on it ever either no matter what size stage we played.

    As for me, I still have this beauty, which you might have seen in one of my older posts. My 1967 B-18X Portaflex: an original Goodman's speaker and a Jenson high compression horn. If you're not familiar, this is the supposedly "deluxe" model of the venerable Portaflex series that was made for bass, guitar, accordion, and whatever else you want to put through it. Analog keyboards like old clavs, wurlitzers, and synths sound amazing through it. Two channels. It's got that crazy Ampeg vibrato and reverb as well as treble boost on both channels. Weird. I put this up for sale a few years back, but ended up keeping it.

    1959 T-100 DP
    1968 CE-100 DP
    1976 BluesBird M-75

  4. #4
    Good reviews on the bass cub!

    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post
    nice....my solution to the old guy syndrome is below.



    phil jones bass cub bg-100
    Quote Originally Posted by jp View Post
    hey harry -

    .... Our bass player had one. Pure sweet bottom end! He gigged and toured for years and that head never let him down. He never had to max out on it ever either no matter what size stage we played.


    [Cool, do you remember what size and number of speakers he was using?]


    .......... My 1967 b-18x portaflex.......goodman speaker.


    [I have two friends with portaflex amps. One amp stays in the closet unused and the other plays gigs with a '64 lake placid blue strat!

    I have another friend with a 'regular' b15 and b18. The 18 has a goodman speaker. It is fine.]


    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post

    And I like Harry's approach.
    '66 Starfire I SB bass, '75 Mark 4 P, '00 Black Bird,
    '66 Thunderbird amp, '68 Thunder 1 RVT amp

  5. #5
    Senior Member jp's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure he used a matching monster Ampeg 2 x 15 cab like this one. It was a beastly back breaker.
    1959 T-100 DP
    1968 CE-100 DP
    1976 BluesBird M-75

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by jp View Post
    I'm pretty sure he used a matching monster Ampeg 2 x 15 cab like this one. It was a beastly back breaker.
    JP, yeah, that's the 2x15 that they put underneath the V4b head in the catalogue drawings.

    It would be fun to have them all, 8x10, 2x15, a couple of 4x10s or 4x12s, maybe even an 18" speaker cab, but I don't have the room.
    Or the back!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post

    And I like Harry's approach.
    '66 Starfire I SB bass, '75 Mark 4 P, '00 Black Bird,
    '66 Thunderbird amp, '68 Thunder 1 RVT amp

  7. #7
    Senior Member jp's Avatar
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    Yeah, I know, right? Newer heads are enviable because they fit into a simple over-the-shoulder case and weigh 5 pounds. I really crave a slick modern and portable Mark Bass setup, or a small optimized 1x12 cab with decent Neos, but my Hofner Club Bass just doesn't sound or feel the same through a newer setup.

    The bigger the thump, the more you gotta hump!
    1959 T-100 DP
    1968 CE-100 DP
    1976 BluesBird M-75

  8. #8
    Sadly, I've never owned an Ampeg Harry, but have always admired them. I did have the chance to play through an SVT with two 8x10 cabs, and it was earthshaking! My main rig back in the day was a Sunn 200S just like this one, and I still own it!



    Paired with a "bored out" Fender Bandmaster cab with 2x15 EV SRO speakers, it weighed somewhere north of 100 pounds, and was the loudest 50 watts you have ever heard in your life! It routinely kept up with the Marshall stacks that were the norm back in the late '70s and '80s. In what might have been a serendipitous moment, the cab collapsed under the substantial weight of those two speakers (yeah, I know a Bandmaster cab was never meant to house these), and years of rather high volume levels, right at the very end of a gig one night. I had the SROs mounted in two separate bins after that with midrange horns (I can hear mgod cringing from here), and used them that way for many years until one of the speakers needed re-coning again. Apparently there aren't anything but cheap Chinese cones available for these now, and of course technology has passed them by at some point. Now my go to rig is a Hartke Kickback 12 that is just perfect for 95% of what I do. I upgraded the speaker to an Eminence Basslite S2012 with a neo magnet after the OEM called it quits, and replacements were basically unobtanium. That took quite a bit of weight off, and it sounds fantastic. Perfect for this geezer![/QUOTE]
    Last edited by twocorgis; 07-11-2017 at 06:24 PM. Reason: Clarity
    Sandy

    '59 X175AB, '68 SFII Bass (Green), '73 D50NT, '82 Mark V, '87 Pilot SB602M, '88 Pilot SB602M, '10 F512NT,
    '11 F50ce Std (Sunburst) '13 R30S (Resonator), '13 B54ce Std Bass, '13 Orpheum Jumbo Prototype

  9. #9
    Thanks for the info, boys.
    Sandy, I'm thinking about sticking
    4 deltalite II 10" speaks in the Ampeg cab, so it's good to get a positive review on that family of speakers
    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post

    And I like Harry's approach.
    '66 Starfire I SB bass, '75 Mark 4 P, '00 Black Bird,
    '66 Thunderbird amp, '68 Thunder 1 RVT amp

  10. #10
    Senior Member JimmyD's Avatar
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    After many years of lugging fliptops, V4B's, and various bottoms, and of course SVT's with the fridge bottom, I made the move to the world of tiny amps you can carry in your briefcase. My back says thanks every day. For those special 'roots' gigs, I still have a B25B (black graphics) which sounds beyond perfect.....something magical about Ampegs from the early 60's to the late 70's. And I agree about 10's for bass.....great sound.
    1964 D40
    1966 F30 NT

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